10 Strange Things You Didn’t Know About NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is one of the biggest and best known scientific organizations in the world. First established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it has become a hugely important research center and arguably one of the largest contributors to human knowledge and exploration. With an annual budget of almost $20 billion, the civilian agency carried out aeronautics and aerospace research, as well as its more famous space exploration missions.
It became famous during the 1960s and 1970s thanks to the Apollo missions that aimed to put a man on the Moon for the very first time and has since focused its efforts on leading other projects to send spacecraft and astronauts into space. This has included the likes of the design and creation of the Space Shuttle, helping to develop the International Space Station, sending out unmanned craft to probe other planets and bodies in the solar system, as well as launching new missions to explore space.
As it has such a long history, in addition to the sheer number of different projects it has worked on, there are plenty of things that people don’t know about NASA. These range from some of the people who have worked there, amazing inventions they were responsible for and bizarre quirks of the agency that simply baffle those who aren’t aware of them.
10 ARMAGEDDON IS USED AS TRAINING
When it was released in 1998, Armageddon was largely criticized by real-life astronauts and scientists for its inaccuracies and series of events that would be impossible to do in space. It might seem strange then that NASA actually uses the film in training. However, it isn’t so that employees can learn anything in particular from the movie, but rather so that they can try to find as many scientific mistakes as possible to show that they are able to find flaws quickly and efficiently. According to sources, they have so far picked out some 160 errors in total from the movie.
9 THEY ONCE SENT A BONSAI TREE INTO SPACE
NASA has a long history of sending plant life into space. This is largely done to see whether they can survive in transit and can grow in zero gravity environments, as long-term missions into space may require astronauts to plant crops and plants to provide food or oxygen. In 2014, they helped Japanese artist Azuma Makoto send a bunch of flowers and a 50-year-old bonsai tree into the stratosphere on the edge of space as cameras captured the ascent. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, neither survived the journey.